Developer IO Interactive have come out in the face of worries from fans that Hitman's return might mean a new direction for the series to assuage fears of dumbing down, saying that not only will there be Achievements that will require you to exhibit the behaviour of a truly stealthy, deadly assassin but that the game footage that has been shown - with Codename 47 engaging in a rather scripted sequence,skulking about a library, running from the police, squaring off against a helicopter and stumbling across some hippies in the process - should not be taken to signify a drastic change in focus.
When we saw that library dev demo way back E3, we voiced some reservations, and we weren't the only ones. But it's good to see IO taking the initiative to allay some fears.
'We will get into more details at a later point, but obviously it's linked to the playing style,' explained Hakan Abrak, the game's lead producer. 'It's more pacify your enemies, be undetected, maybe solve the challenges in a smarter way. That will probably give you a stealth assassin achievement.
'We have a lot of difficulty levels in the game as well,' he continued. 'Rest assured, the hardcore fans that like to have replayability value in the game or want to have this stealth assassin - you know, I'm the ultimate stealth assassin - that playing style, those achievements, are very much in the game.
'There's a huge replayability value in it and we have some features in the game I cannot speak about that will enhance this and make this easier, and heighten the replayability value for the hardcore players as well.'
In the Hitman titles before, you were ranked on the efficiency of your missions, with the ultimate rating of 'Silent Assassin' being highly coveted among the hardcore community. Abrak did not specifiy if this would be returning, but he did offer up a little tidbit for the fans.
'Yeah, it has a very special name,' Abrak said, referring to the hardcore difficulty. 'And I'm pretty sure it's going to please the hardcore fans. I can't say what it is.'
It won't be clear until we get hands-on with the game just how much Absolution veers away from the mini-sandboxes of old, but this does offer a little bit of comfort, even if our suspicions haven't quite been silenced just yet. We'll have more for you when we know it. [Eurogamer]